Virtual Workforce Issues and Solutions – Review

With technology at the forefront of change in the workplace, many colleagues work together across geographic boundaries, with shared responsibility for outcomes.

More than 20 participants at the September GU Institute lunch and learn workshop, discussed challenges and solutions for the virtual workforce. The following includes a few of the challenges participants experience and solutions breakout groups recommended.

Challenges

  • Lack of understanding of the virtual differences, communication and technology needs.
  • Managers that do not support virtual workers by reviewing and responding to things online, but expect in person meetings.
  • Lack of communication and training on setting expectations for work
  • Overuse of certain technology such as e-mail, IM and voice mail – this seems more extreme because they cannot see the virtual worker to tell what they are doing, so expect a quick response.
  • Old corporate culture – not accepting of new ideas and work styles.

Solutions/suggestions to ease virtual work issues

  • Assign meeting facilitator to make sure everyone is included (both those in physical rooms and those on video or teleconference); make sure everyone can hear; keep people engaged and participating, etc.
  • Develop and distribute company processes for functional teams – rules of the road. Include management.
  • Provide guidance and clearly explain expectations for the virtual worker.
  • Offer training on how to effectively use technology to enhance communication